By Airman 1st Class Samantha Saulsbury, 460th Space Wing Public Affairs
/ Published April 15, 2015
BUCKLEY AIR FORCE BASE, Colo. -- In the public's eye, Col. Darren Buck, 460th Space Wing vice commander, is a strong presence. His confidence demands attention, and there's something about his friendly demeanor that keeps his audience intrigued.
Buck has served his entire career as a space operator and system engineer, on and off of active duty status with the Air Force, Air Force Reserve, and across the aerospace industry, performing duties as varied as technical operations, strategic planning, academic instruction, and speechwriting. He currently serves as Buckley's vice commander, but behind the scenes, there's more to him than meets the eye.
An avid cyclist, outdoorsman, actor, and singer, Buck spends his free time exploring a wide range of different activities. He admits that he finds it hard to stay focused sometimes.
"You could call it a blessing or a curse depending on your perspective," Buck laughed. "Sometimes I feel spread too thin because I have so many varied interests."
A man of many talents, Buck began to explore his creative side when he was a lieutenant.
"We had a rock band when I was stationed at Falcon, which is now Schriever," Buck said. "We played parties, bars, officer clubs, and NCO clubs. That was a lot of fun. It was a great way to expand on a personal level. There are few things more challenging than getting up in front of a crowd and performing."
Buck later started singing the National Anthem at the bases where he was stationed.
"I always think 'why not?'" Buck said. "That's kind of the way I'm wired. I'll give anything a shot. As for the Star Spangled Banner, as Americans, we hear the song all the time, and we all know it, but it's a far more difficult song to perform well than most people realize."
Performing led Buck to participate in community theatre, which he says has been an incredibly positive and constructive experience. He highly encourages people to get involved in performing.
"I have had the great fortune of having been involved with community theatre groups who go overboard with their encouragement," Buck said. "It was always very positive, regardless of the level of the performance. I want to pay it forward and encourage people to experience it. My support for the Panther Den's 'Open Mic Night' events is an example."
Buck is also a huge advocate for cycling.
"I'm a big proponent of cycling," Buck said. "Not just cycling for fitness or competition, but rediscovery of cycling as a basic form of transportation. Congestion, economics, pollution, fitness, health...all of these are important issues, especially in urban and suburban America. Cycling can have a positive impact on all of these. If there were more people cycling, the world would be a better place."
Despite his various interests, there's one constant that stays close to his heart -Buckley AFB.
"Buckley is a special place," Buck said. "The warning mission we have here is foundational to the entire defense posture for the Nation, our allies, and every combatant command. Additionally, with all of our tenants, the intelligence community, all our sister services, and all the guard and reserve components, Buckley is a microcosm for the entire defense structure of the Nation. Team Buckley has everything but ships and tanks."
Buck said Colorado is such a great place to work and play.
"Get the mission done first, that's why we're here," he said. "Whatever's put in front of you -- own it. Do the absolute best that you can at whatever it is. We're in a world where we have to expect the best. But I want to encourage people to have fun as well as get a lot of professional satisfaction."
Buck's time as the Vice Commander will be temporary. A new Vice Commander will arrive later this summer. However, Buck is always up to any challenge and is looking forward to what comes next.
"The Air Force has sent me to cool places, to work on cool stuff, with really cool people," he said. "I'm not sure what's next, but I'll go wherever I need to go. I love my Air Force and my fellow Airmen."